1.5 Minutes on Influence: Increasing Your Chances Of Luck and The Proximity Principle.

Happy 1,5 Minutes on Influence!

Here is your weekly dose of applying the psychology of influence
to positively impact choices and behaviours.

Looking forward to sharing insights with you!

Warm regards,



Although I’m not a football fan myself, there’s no denying that the European Championships have started. Here in The Netherlands, everything turns bright orange (the colour of the royal family) and football fans are in full-on supporter mode.

Listening to some of these fans, I heard them say things like, “We just weren’t lucky” or “Luck wasn’t on our side tonight.

This triggered an interesting insight about luck and chance that I’d like to share with you this week.

How does luck affect our decision-making, and is there a way to end a string of bad luck?

After all, besides football, in all aspects of our lives, we sometimes need the luck scale to tip in our favour.

When examining luck, we quickly see a human tendency: we are ultimate harmony seekers. We want good things to happen to good people and vice versa. To make sense of our world, we want things to be fair and honest. This creates a common belief that fortunes will eventually change or that a streak of bad luck will come to an end.

This also skews our decision-making: enter the gambler’s fallacy.

This fallacy was named from research in a Reno casino. Researchers found that gamblers who watched one spin of the wheel evenly divided their bets between red and black. However, as the wheel landed on red (or black) in consecutive spins, the betting changed significantly.

After five consecutive reds, 65 per cent of the bets were placed on black, and after six consecutive reds, 85 per cent of the bets were on black. Though the sixth spin of a roulette wheel is not influenced by the previous five spins, gamblers still placed their bets as if it was.

Just like a roulette ball doesn’t favour a colour, luck doesn’t favour a person. Bad luck is as random as a roulette ball. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and good things to bad people.

At the same time, behavioural science suggests that luck plays a more significant role in success than we often acknowledge. So, is there something you can do to maximise your luck? Fortunately, there is!

Recent research suggests that luck is not just about preparation but even more about perseverance.

You need to put yourself in as many situations as possible to increase your chances of getting lucky, thereby accepting or even embracing the randomness of life. By continuously putting yourself out there, learning from each experience, and never giving up, you create a greater statistical chance for luck to find you.

I wish you lots of good luck, and if luck reaches you, you now know how random it is, and you can feel extra lucky.


Are you a forward-thinker?

We have translated the most groundbreaking insights from the psychology of influence into practical methods and tools. We teach these in our two-day Behavioural Design Fundamentals Course. You can download the brochure here NL and UK. The training is available in both Dutch and English, and can be tailored for teams. But it is especially suited for forward-thinkers.


The Proximity Principle

At SUE, we have a vibrant community of alumni who have completed our training programs. We regularly share examples, questions, and lessons learned. Just yesterday, a discussion started about an insurance company and some brands providing free sunscreen at places where it’s needed, like the beach, festivals, and recreational areas.

This is a fantastic example of making it easier for people to adopt the desired behaviour. If you want to change someone’s behaviour, a CAN intervention (making sure people can actually engage in the desired behaviour) is very effective.

CAN interventions align with how our brains work: we’re always looking to minimize cognitive effort. Making things easy does just that.

In this case, it’s the CAN intervention of Proximity: Can we bring the desired behaviour closer to people? Judging by the responses in the discussion, it works. People mentioned using the free sunscreen at various locations.

It highlights another point I often make: people usually want to do the right thing but simply forget.

We want to protect ourselves from sunburn, but we often forget to bring sunscreen. By providing it at this Moment That Matters, sunscreen producers and insurance companies add value for both people and brands.



Until next week,
Astrid Groenewegen

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